St Andrew's growth won't slow after $64 million development
IT HAS been just over a year since St Andrew's landmark $64 million development was finished and there are no plans to slow down under a new chief executive officer.
Claire Thurwood has taken on the position of CEO of the private hospital, replacing Jude Emmer after her two years in the role.
The 33-year-old arrives in Ipswich determined to make her mark in the biggest challenge of her career after serving as CEO of two hospitals on the Gold Coast and stints in facilities in Sydney and Melbourne.
Ms Thurwood aims to reduce the number of locals travelling to Brisbane, and lure in those coming from further west who usually bypass the city, for private health care.
"I'm passionate about improving health services in regional areas," she said.
"I think Ipswich is a real emerging socio economic area. There's a lot of development going on out here with Springfield and Ripley. I thought it would be a good opportunity in a growing hospital that has just undergone a big development.
"This is the largest hospital that I've taken on so it's definitely a challenge. There's a lot of people that have worked here for over 20 years which I think says a lot about the place."
Ms Thurwood believed private mental health services are "lacking" in Ipswich and said she hopes to put plans in place to add more services to the 110-year-old hospital in the near future
"This is a full service hospital now," she said.
"We cater for most specialities and we've undergone a development and the community is still a little bit unaware of what we've got. I think we need to really establish the fact that Ipswich has a fantastic (private) hospital. We've spent a lot of money making sure it's top quality.
"We do have another development that we're working on at the moment that will hopefully add some radiation oncology services to the region that we don't currently have. It's still very much in the planning process. We're preparing a development application.
"We are looking at increasing our radiation oncology service and increasing our ability to provide more through renal dialysis and the infusions centre. Both the infusion centre and renal dialysis services are nearing capacity and I would be keen introduce services not currently offered in the area such as a PET scanner to further strengthen our oncology offerings."
Ms Thurwood said there was space on the fifth level of the hospital for another ward and land could be purchased around the hospital to develop mental health facilities.
"The growth plan for St Andrew's is pretty exciting," she said.
"It won't stay as it is."